Akbayan flexes muscle in nationwide rallies
Civil society groups on Tuesday trooped to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to drum up support for Akbayan and send a strong message that the party-list group continued to enjoy strong backing from marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
The gathering in front of the Comelec’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, was part of a nationwide rally staged by various marginalized sectors, people’s organizations and social movements to express support for Akbayan.
Akbayan has been the subject of a disqualification complaint by what it described as groups belonging to the “extreme Left” for allegedly being “overrepresented” and an “adjunct” of the Aquino administration.
Rallies were also staged in front of Comelec offices in various cities and provinces, which included Baguio, Dagupan, Cabanatuan, Pampanga, Zambales, Quezon, Batangas, Naga City in Camarines Sur, Legazpi, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato and Butuan.
The Alliance of Progress Labor (APL), one of the groups that joined the rally in Manila, said Akbayan had been an “indispensable” partner in its advocacy for the rights and welfare of Filipino workers.
“Akbayan elevates workers’ issues on the ground to the heights of national policy-making. [It] paved the way for workers’ victories over abusive management,” APL secretary general Edwin Bustillos said Tuesday.
Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK) also pointed out that the marginalized could never be overrepresented and that Akbayan’s disqualification would only benefit the extreme Left and the elites such as the Arroyos and Marcoses, who have parroted the calls to delist the organization.
“How can the peasantry or any of the sectors represented by Akbayan be deemed as over-represented? It’s an argument that falls flat on its face,” said PKSK national spokesperson Uper Aleroza.
Akbayan’s presence in the party-list system has been questioned by various groups led by Anakbayan and the National Union of Students of the Philippines, which noted that many of its members were now entrenched in the executive department.
The members include Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas and his deputy, Ibarra Gutierrez III, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Rosales and National Anti-Poverty Commission Chairman Joel Rocamora.
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